Thoracic Endovascular Aneurysm Repair
Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin was the first institution in the region to perform TEVAR, a minimally invasive procedure used to repair a thoracic aortic aneurysm (TAA) from inside the aorta. This procedure can also be used to repair the more complex thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysms.
Minimally Invasive Procedure Means Faster Recovery
Thoracic aortic endografting results are comparable to open-chest surgery, but the procedure eliminates the need to cut through the chest to repair the aorta. Thus, patients experience less pain, fewer complications and faster recovery.
While minimally invasive endovascular grafting techniques have previously been used to repair abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA), stent-grafts were approved for use in the chest about five years ago. TEVAR uses a covered sleeve, or stent-graft, to channel blood past an abnormal area of the aorta. The stent-graft is custom-sized for each patient.
During the TEVAR procedure, physicians make small incisions in the groin area. A catheter is guided to the aneurysm in the lower part of the thoracic aorta. Guided by x-ray-like imaging, physicians advance the stent-graft through the catheter to the location of the aneurysm. The synthetic graft is released from inside the aorta and it expands to line the wall of the aorta.
The stent-graft acts as an interior “sleeve,” allowing blood to safely flow through a weak area. It stops direct pressure from being exerted on the weak aortic wall. In cases of a torn aorta, such as after a motor vehicle accident, this procedure can be life-saving by covering the torn aortic wall and stopping further leakage.
The TEVAR procedure is performed by a specialized, multidisciplinary team of cardiac surgeons, vascular surgeons, and vascular and interventional radiologists. In certain cases, the stent-graft can also be used to treat traumatic injuries and tears of the thoracic aorta.